Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
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Bradford County PA
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Hornbrook Methodist Church Damaged in Sheshequin 2005
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Steeple destroyed: Church landmark ripped by winds
 Towanda Daily Review Article

SHESHEQUIN -- In the early morning hours Friday a storm raged outside the Hornbrook United Methodist Church on Sheshequin Road, and Pastor Richard Stackhouse slept well in his residence adjacent to the church.
That is, until his wife, Kathy, and a loud rap at his door woke him from his sleep and he learned that part of the roof to his church was in the road, the steeple broken off, and part of the bell tower damaged. He did not sleep much else that night.
"My wife and I were up most of the night after that, wondering what was going to happen next," he said.
Firefighters helped him remove the roofing off the roadway, Stackhouse said, but another part of the roof was pulled up and still hanging from the church to worry about. "That could have been dangerous if another strong gust took it," he said, adding the field behind the church is perfect ground for strong winds to build up.
Stackhouse said he was thankful no one was injured and the church has insurance to cover the damage. He hopes the damaged portion of the roof can be taken off today, but until then part of the building is cordoned off with caution tape.
"We're still going to have Sunday service, but we're not having anything inside before then," Stackhouse reported.
The steeple was as old as the church, he said, built in 1860.
"It's a rugged steeple, and we just put a new roof on ... in October of 2003," he said, "but there must have been one good swoop of a gust of wind to take it off."
Local weather observer for the National Weather Service Wayne Vanderpool in Towanda said he recorded a wind gust as high as 30 mph. "But it's not too accurate because I'm pretty protected from the wind where I am," he said.
Michael Cempa, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Binghamton, said wind gusts in the region ranged from 30 to 40 mph.
Vanderpool also reported .94 total inches of precipitation Friday, which included the 1.4 inches of snow that began at about 5 a.m.
Jody Place, a spokesperson for Penelec, reported only one customer in Bradford and Sullivan counties was still without power Friday afternoon. At 10 p.m. Thursday, the height of their weather-related power outages, she said 350 customers were without power and the majority of those were in the Eagles Mere area.
Jeff Setzer, manager of corporate communications for Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative, reported no major weather-related outages for either Tri-County or Claverack.
Creeks throughout the Bradford County region rose, flooding some roadways. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reported only one road, Jackson Valley Road in Warren Township, south of the intersection with Lake of Meadows Road, closed Friday due to flooding. The road was announced reopened at 4 p.m. Friday.
Cempa said Friday afternoon the Susquehanna River was above the 16-foot flood stage and was forecast to crest overnight at about 17 feet. "It should recede and fall below flood stage (Saturday) afternoon," he said.
The river should continue to recede, he said, as the weekend brings cold weather and no chance of rain. There is a possibility of a light snow on Sunday, Cempa said.
©Daily and Sunday Review 2005  January 16, 2005

EDITOR: This letter is in reference to an article that was printed in your paper on Saturday, Jan. 15. The article contained information regarding the damage to Hornbrook United Methodist Church from a wind storm.

There is another story included in the event. And that story involves a Good Samaritan who chose to make the extra effort for the benefit of others. The person I'm referring to is a man named Joel Zdon, who lives in the village of Sheshequin in Ulster Township.
It was Joel who woke me, the pastor of the church, in the early morning hours Friday to alert me to the damage of the church's roof and steeple. There was a piece of metal roofing seven sheets wide, 20 feet long with the roof boards attached in the middle of the road. I went for my coat and boots and Joel went to the road to clear the debris.
By the time I was able to get to the road Joel had the roofing 90 percent out of the road. I helped him finish the job, done almost single handedly by Joel. Shortly after that, two men from Ulster/Sheshequin Fire Department pulled up. They helped check the road for more debris, and then the four of us pulled the sheet of roofing farther into the yard to clear the driveway. By then the church was open and I had the outside lights on and we examined the exterior of the church.
When the firemen believed everything was safe and clear they left the scene. Joel and I went into the church to determine what damage may have occurred inside. Fortunately there was nothing open to the elements.
Joel was a true blessing in a time of need. My thanks and blessings were enough for Joel, but I wanted to publicly express my appreciation for a man of fine character.
I want to encourage all people, that when you have an opportunity to do something good for others, do it. In the larger picture, you often find out that what you have done affects the lives of many and brings blessings to both the giver and to the receiver.

Richard Stackhouse
January 18, 2005

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 19 JAN 2005
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